Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
BUKOLA Saraki, the President of the Senate has revealed that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is determined to overlook the inadequacies of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in order to fulfil his presidential ambition in 2023.
Saraki disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja titled; ‘The Tinubu Rhetoric – My Response’, where he said that he has always restrained from joining issues in the media with Tinubu and this is based on hisrespect for him.
However, he noted that he would not allow Tinubu to create a wrong, false and mischievous impression about the reasons for his decision to exit the APC and present his prejudices as facts for public consumption.
Saraki stressed that he has been consistent in his complaints to all leaders of the APC, including Tinubu, that a situation where the National Assembly is not constructively engaged or carried along in key policy decisions, particularly those that would eventually require legislative approval, is not in the best interest of the nation.
The Senate President explained that no genuine leader of the legislature would be comfortable that the Presidency would simply write a terse letter to the National Assembly on key issues which the federal legislature is expected to later deliberate upon and give its approval.
He stated categorically that the Buhari administration consistently treat the legislature with contempt and act as if the law making body should be an appendage of the executiv, saying it is unacceptable.
Saraki recalled that Tinubu during the various meetings he had with Tinubu at the time he was pursuing reconciliation within the party, that he complained that certain element and forces within the party have ensured that minimum conditions for peace, cooperation, inclusion and a general sense of belonging did not exist.
He said: “I can also vividly recall that he himself always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government which we all worked to put in office.
“However, during those meetings, the point of disagreement between me and him is that while I express my worry that there is nothing on ground to assure me that the administrative style and attitude would change in the next four years in a manner that will enable us deliver the positive changes we promised to our people, he (Tinubu) expressed a strong opinion that he would rather ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-west. This Tinubu viewpoint was not only expressed to me but to several of my colleagues. So much for acting in national interest.”
“It is clear that while my own decision is based on protecting collective, national interest, Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies in the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023. This new position of Tinubu has only demonstrated inconsistency, particularly when one reviews his antecedent over the years.”
The Senate President also reiterated that his uncertain and complex relationship with Tinubu has been continually defined by the event of 2014 when he and other leaders of the APC opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket arrangement about to be foisted on the APC for the 2015 polls.
“It should be noted that he has not forgotten the fact that I took the bull by the horns and told him that in the interest of the country, he should accept the need for the party to present a balanced ticket for the 2015 General Elections in terms of religion and geo-political zones. Since that time he has been very active, plotting at every point to undermine me, within and outside the National Assembly.
“It is a surprise to me that Asiwaju Tinubu is still peddling the falsehood about the fact that my defection is about automatic ticket and sharing of resources. Members of the public will recall that when the issue of my decision to quit APC came to the fore and many APC leaders were holding meetings with me, a newspaper owned by the same Tinubu published a false report about the promise of automatic ticket, oil block and other benefits.
“I immediately rebutted their claims and categorically stated that I never discussed any such personal and pecuniary benefits with anybody. My challenge that anybody who has contrary facts should come forward with them still remains open,” Saraki stated.